Valentine’s Day Recipe: Thyme’s Gnocchi with Winter Vegetables

What’s more romantic than preparing a dinner for two together?

February 8, 2016

This Valentine’s Day we suggest that you and your significant other skip the crowded and overpriced night out on the town and whip up a cozy dinner for two at home instead. We asked chef-owner Tom Costello of Thyme in Yorktown Heights to help us come up with a totally indulgent dish that would be fun to prepare together. He offered us his recipe for gluten-free gnocchi in a creamy winter vegetable sauce. Yum! That’s what we love about dining at Thyme — most of the mouthwatering items on the menu can be made gluten free if you ask. It’s one of our favorite spots for eating well.

Thyme Gnocchi with Winter Vegetables

Thyme’s Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

3 medium russet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 cup bacon, diced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 cup butternut squash, diced and blanched soft
1 cup baby kale, washed and dried
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 fresh nutmeg seed
Salt and pepper

Directions

1. To make the gnocchi: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork, and place them on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven, and roast for 45 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Peel the cooled potatoes, and pass through a ricer or food mill. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, and create a well in the center. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and pour into the potato well. Gently work the egg mixture into the potatoes with a fork until they start to come together.

3. Add 1 cup of the flour to the potatoes. Knead until a dough starts to form and stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. If it continues to stick, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough holds together and is no longer sticky.

4. Dust your work surface with flour, and separate the dough into 2 or 3 balls. Roll each ball into a log the width of a cigar. Cut the log into 1-inch gnocchi, and shape using your fingers and the tines of a fork.

5. To make the winter vegetables sauce: Heat a sauté pan to medium heat, and render the bacon. Add the shiitake mushrooms, and sauté until tender. Add the butternut squash and kale, and continue to sauté. Once the kale has wilted, add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the Parmesan cheese, fresh nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

6. While the sauce is reducing, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, and add the sauce. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.

For other fun suggestions on how to spend Valentine’s Day this year, check out our post on V-Day daytime date ideas.

Sponsored Post: Beth El Day Camp: Welcoming Ages 2-7 in New Rochelle This Summer

Get a Slice of Savings by registering at their Pizza Party on February 9!

February 5, 2016

With February Break next week, there’s one thing every mom is thinking about and that’s summer camp! Beth El Day Camp in New Rochelle will be offering its highly-regarded summer camp program for its 65th year from June 27 to August 12 for children ages 2 to 7. Accredited by the American Camp Association, Beth El Day Camp has an unrivaled staff-camper ratio and is known for their nurturing environment, cutting edge programming and commitment to safety.

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Beth El Day Camp is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill summer camp. Their programs span a wide range of guided activities to help young children develop new skills, make friends, build self-esteem, and develop a love for creativity and self-expression. Children participate in a multitude of sports and games, including soccer, softball and basketball. Music, dancing, karate concepts, magic, cooking and crafts are also offered, in addition to their creative nature program. Children swim twice a day in the large solar-heated pool as part of their American Red Cross Swim program. And theme days like Truck Day, the Olympics and the famous Carnival Day are just some of the summer highlights at Camp Beth El. Camp is in session on July 4th too!

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The kids are sure to work up an appetite, and Camp Beth El does not fall short when it comes to food! Nutritious (kosher) lunches are served every day, including barbecues and snacks in the air-conditioned lunchroom.  There is something for even the pickiest palate, and the entire camp is nut-free. There is even a gluten-free (worry-free!) menu available. Every Friday, campers are treated to grape juice and freshly baked challah to celebrate Shabbat.

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There are customized half-day, extended-day and full-day programs available by age groups.  The 2-year-old program meets three mornings a week from 9am to noon.  The 3-year-old program runs Monday to Friday, 8:40am to 1pm, and includes lunch.  The 4-year-old program runs Monday to Friday from 8:40am to either 2:15pm or 4pm.  And children ages 5 to 7 will enjoy a full day of fun! Early drop-off and late pick-up options are available.

Did you know February 9 is National Pizza Day? Register for camp and enjoy pizza with the Beth El Day Camp family from 3-5pm on February 9. To participate, please R.S.V.P to jrockowitz@bethelnr.org and bring your $500 deposit. Rates go up on February 10! 

For more information, please contact camp director Julie Rockowitz at 914-235-2700 ext. 256 or jrockowitz@bethelnr.org.

Beth El Day Camp, 1324 North Avenue, New Rochelle; 914-235-2700 ext. 256

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50 Things to Do During February Break

Ideas on how to spend your staycation in and around Westchester.

February 4, 2016

Not going anywhere this February break? Great! We hear it’s lovely in Westchester this time of year. And there’s certainly plenty to do, whether your plan is to bundle up the kids and head outdoors, or hang out around the house in your pajamas all week long. Here are 50 ideas on how to spend your week.

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1. Take a winter hike. We’ve got kid-friendly trail routes for Rye Beach and Croton Gorge (you just might spot a deer!), as well as pointers for ice hunting at River Walk in Tarrytown.

2. Let the kids loose at an indoor play space. Northern Westchester readers: here are some additional places to play closer to you!

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3. Go to the movies. Alamo Movies Theater in Yonkers is featuring the original Annie at 11am on Feb. 15, 16, 17 and 18. Or if your kids are more into animals than musicals, drive up to the IMAX theater at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, where they’ll be showing nature movies such as Flight of the Butterflies and Humpback Whales.

4. Break out the slow cooker and avoid spending all day thinking about what to make for dinner. We’ve got some great recipes for carnitas tacos and chicken tortilla soup.

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5. Hop on the train and take a ride into the city. Some cool things to check out with the kids: the SeaGlass Carousel down in Battery Park and the Children’s Museum of the Arts, just off the West Side Highway.

6. Or don’t hop on the train, and just watch them go by instead. Grab lunch at Valhalla Crossing near the station, a cute little restaurant housed in two converted train cars, with a designated room for train spotting while dining. For other great places to dine and spot trains, check out this past post. Choo-choo!

7. Howl with the wolves at Wolf Conservation Center’s family winter howl on Feb. 19. Take a sunset hike to visit the wolves at their favorite hour (dusk), let out your best howl, and end with hot beverages in front of a wood stove. Registration is required, and everyone must bring flashlights – fun! If all this is happening way past your kid’s bedtime, the center is also running an 11am “winter wolves for kids” program every weekday during the holiday break.

8. Lace up the skates and hit one of these Westchester ice rinks.

9. Skydive with the kids! iFly, an indoor skydiving center that just opened at Ridge Hill a couple of months ago, welcomes kids as young as 3! Float on a cushion of air to simulate the experience of freefall.

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10. Warm up with some ramen. Ramen Q’s in Scarsdale is our local favorite, but there’s also great ramen to be slurped at Mokomiya in White Plains and Roc-N-Ramen in New Rochelle.

11. Learn something new at a science museum. There are two fantastic ones just a short car-trip away – the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

12. Hit the slopes for a day of skiing at a small, family-friendly mountain.

13. Take a mini vacation that’s within driving distance from Westchester. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery (and a hotel pool).

14. Enjoy a high-energy Celtic dance show at Westchester Community College in Valhalla on Feb. 14, where StepCrew, an Irish step-dancing group, will be performing, backed by a five-piece band. All ages are welcome; reservations required.

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15. Treat your winter-weary skin and lungs to some salt therapy at Breathe Easy in Dobbs Ferry and Katonah. Kids are welcome in the family room, which is set up with sand toys and kid-size chairs. Who needs the beach?

16. Check out Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, which bills itself as a four-season farm. Entry is free in the winter! Visit the animals and greenhouse, or pay extra to take the family farm tour.

17. Dine at one of the new Westchester restaurants covered in our latest roundup.

18. Paint some pottery (or plaster, if you want to save a few bucks). Made in Mamaroneck, Plaster Palace in Larchmont, Fun Craft in Scarsdale, and A Maze in Pottery in Briarcliff Manor all take walk-ins.

19. Make a birthday celebration box with your kids and donate it to a local child in need. It’s a great snowy day project that your children will find meaningful.

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20. Take a hot chocolate tour. We found the best cups in Westchester. Or make your own hot cocoa at home and top it with fun whipped cream shapes. Yum!

21. Shop at an indoor farmers’ market. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to stop buying fresh veggies and locally made goodies. There are markets open most Saturdays in Chappaqua, Hastings, Mamaroneck, Ossining and Pleasantville.

22. View the winter night sky from the Hudson Valley Museum’s state-of-the-art planetarium. It’s amazing. Seriously.

23. Bake healthy, yummy mini frittata muffins with the kids – we’ve got recipes for three different kinds.

24. Check out a maple sugaring event. There are programs at Rye Nature Center on Feb. 13 and 20, Katonah’s Muscoot Farm on Feb. 14 and 21, and Stamford Museum & Nature Center on Feb. 21.

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25. Celebrate National Bird Feeding Month. Buy some birdseed and make simple bird-feeders with these easy craft ideas.

26. Catch a local show. Moon Mouse, a kids’ production that uses luminescent black light to deliver the story about a mouse’s cosmic adventure, is playing at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck on Feb. 13.

27. Make beef stew for dinner. Because nothing warms the heart in the middle of February like beef stew.

28. Start thinking about the spring. Now’s the time to plant seedlings! If you need guidance, Lasdon Park in Katonah is hosting a free program on the very subject on Feb. 21. All attendees will take home their planted seeds. Call to register.

29. Round up some kids and have a chocolate-making play date at Chocolate Works in Scarsdale.

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30. Go to the mall – specifically, the ginormous Palisades Mall in Nyack, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge. You’ll find endless entertainment, including a bowling alley, an ice-skating rink, a ropes course, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, an escape room, a virtual reality ride and a movie theater – plus, of course, hundreds of shops and restaurants!

31. Take a cooking class with the kids. Sur La Table (locations in Yonkers and White Plains) is offering a Valentine’s Day family baking class on Feb. 13 and 14, while Williams-Sonoma in White Plains is hosting a madeleine-making class on Feb. 20. Reserve your spots in advance.

32. Get a head start on spring cleaning. It’s so easy to donate your old toys, clothes, book and baby gear — some organizations will even pick up from your house!

33. Go to the circus. The Royal Hanneford Circus comes to the Westchester County Center in White Plains Feb. 13 to 15. Just the right size for the younger set, this traditional three-ring circus features everything from tigers to tightrope walkers.

34. Have your kids practice reading aloud to a therapy dog at the library — how cute is that? Scarsdale’s Wag Your Tale program is happening on Feb. 13 (registration is required), while Mount Kisco’s Read to Rover program takes place Feb. 18 (just walk in).

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35. Put the kids to bed early (here’s a book that’ll knock ’em right out), mix up some winter cocktails (Bourbon butterscotch lattes, anyone?), and enjoy a cozy date night at home.

36. Have a real-life tea party at a place that offers afternoon tea service. Silver Tips Tea Room in Tarrytown, Lola’s Tea House in Mamaroneck, and Kathleen’s Tea Room in Peekskill are all fine options. Pinkies up!

37. See – and make – art at one of Westchester’s great museums. The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers and Katonah Museum of Art both offer a “school’s out, art’s in” program during the break; admission for kids is free and each museum is featuring art workshops based on the current exhibits.

38. Have a family game night. Here are the board games we love playing in our own households! Or check out Monkey Pod Games’ factory store in Mamaroneck, a neat little shop that makes eco-friendly games and puzzles, including wooden versions of Connect Four and Othello.

39. Take a spin on an indoor carousel. Some nearby favorites: the Bug Carousel at the Bronx Zoo, the Bear Mountain Carousel, and the double-decker Palisades Center Carousel in Nyack.

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40. Turn your kids’ art projects into a lovely gallery wall.

41. Visit a children’s museum. Stepping Stones Museum for Children is worth crossing the border into Connecticut. And the brand new Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye is open for business, even as construction continues. Admission is pay-as-you-wish.

42. Enjoy the great indoors. If you’re stuck in the house with a small baby, here are some ideas for things to do at home.

43. Sign up for an art class. The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, Young At Art in Scarsdale, and The Rye Arts Center are all offering ways to get creative this week. Registration is required for these classes.

44. Or if you’d rather not commit to a class, drop in on a free art workshop at Lakeshore Learning in Scarsdale. The store runs the workshop every Saturday from 11am to 3pm for kids ages 3 and up.

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45. While away an afternoon at The Voracious Reader, a lovely children’s bookstore in Larchmont. Free weekly story hours for the younger ones.

46. Travel to the time of knights and princesses at Wave Hill in the Bronx on Feb. 16, 17 and 18. Kids ages 5 and up can build, decorate and populate their own medieval castle. Registration is required.

47. Treat yourself to a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich for lunch – and maybe let the kids have a bite or two.

48. Take a free guided nature walk at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale. Specially trained “trail ninjas” provide information on the plants and wildlife that you encounter. The walks are approximately 45 minutes long, suitable for all ages, and take place on Saturdays and Sundays in February.

49. Jump the sillies out at Rockin’ Jump, an indoor trampoline park in Mt. Kisco. Boing!

50. Put a TV show on for the kids and take a nap. Go on. You’ve earned it. It’s vacation, after all!

Sponsored Post: Pine Brook Fitness: Family-Friendly Multi-Fitness Facility

Home of the New Rochelle Racquet Club, The Rock Club and The Studios

February 3, 2016

Pine Brook Fitness is more than just 30 minutes on a treadmill. They’re a fitness experience for you and your entire family to have fun, improve your skills, and test your limits in a safe, friendly, and rewarding atmosphere. Their recently renovated club has been operating in the same location with the same ownership group for over 40 years. They are home to The New Rochelle Racquet Club, The Rock Club and their newest facility, The Studios. They hold annual vacation and summer rock climbing and tennis camps for children as young as age 3 and provide a fun and exciting venue for birthday parties. Also, check out their vacation mini tennis and rock climbing camps during President’s week break! 

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New Rochelle Racquet Club

Founded more than 40 years ago, the New Rochelle Racquet Club continues to be a leading indoor tennis facility in the Westchester community. Their pros are among the best in the industry and well versed in all levels of instruction. They offer a variety of programs for children starting at age 3, host annual vacation and summer camps and are a great venue for birthday parties! Visit their website to learn more about their programs.

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The Rock Club

Founded in 2007, The Rock Club was the first of its kind and continues to be the premier rock climbing gym in the New York area. Their 40 foot climbing wall with terrain ranging from easy to extreme provides a fun and challenging experience for climbers of all levels. They have about 80 climbing stations with over 200 individual routes that are continuously changed so there are always new obstacles to conquer.

They offer a variety of children’s programs, host annual summer and vacation camps and they’re an awesome venue to host your next birthday party, group outing or event! Visit their website for more information on their kids climbing offerings.

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The Studios

They don’t have activities just for the kids! In addition to adult tennis and climbing, their new fitness facility, The Studios, features 2,500 square feet of training equipment and studios where they offer specialized classes, group and personal training and sports specific training classes that integrate the latest fitness trends and show you results. Drop your kids off at tennis and climbing and come workout! Check out the class schedule here.

UPCOMING EVENTS! Family ClimbFit Day on Saturday, February 13th, 9-11am. In honor of American Heart Month, you’re invited to join them for a family fitness adventure! You’ll start with a family friendly workout in The Studios to get your heart pumping. Once we’re warmed up, we’ll scale the walls at The Rock Club with help from our friendly belayers.  First time climbing? No problem. All levels are welcome. Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for kids (ages 5+). Register here (search under Events)

***Special Offer for Wee Westchester Readers! Mention Wee Westchester and get a pass for 3 FREE classes at The Studios!

Pine Brook Fitness, 130 Rhodes Street, New Rochelle; 914-636-1019.

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Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

You won't see these oozy-gooey sandwiches on the kids' menu.

February 1, 2016

By Michelle Gillan Larkin

Something unexpected happened out at dinner the other night: I found myself staring longingly at the grilled cheese sandwich my 5-year-old son had ordered from the kids’ menu. It was a chilly evening, and I was craving comfort food (read: my chopped salad wasn’t cutting it). I considered bagging up the greens and placing a new order, but I knew I still wouldn’t be satisfied. It’s the kids’ menu, I said to myself. So, I ate my salad, but mentally started on a mission to find a grilled cheese fit for an adult—something fancy, for a sophisticated palate, and that my little guy would never touch (all mine!).

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Short Rib Grilled Cheese

The Dish: The grilled cheese I stumbled upon at Village Social, a fun, hip eatery in Mount Kisco is not just a sandwich, it’s a meal. It consists of cheddar cheese and tender short ribs, grilled together in melty perfection, and placed between a couple of slices of toasted sourdough bread. The short ribs are cooked in house for three to five hours in red wine, then pulled apart and tossed in homemade BBQ sauce. Sounds like a recipe for a big mess, but not a drop of sauce dripped out—there’s just enough to add a delicious sweetness to the sandwich without it becoming sloppy (or maybe I just ate it really fast). It wasn’t greasy either, and the bread stayed crisp to the last bite. It’s served with fries at dinnertime, but at lunch, it comes with homemade potato chips dusted with sea salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Not exactly spicy, but definitely zippy.

The Bottom Line: This is a hearty meal at lunch or dinner, and you will fill up for $14. Really yummy, and it looks so nice, too, as it comes to the table on a cute, metal platter with a little bucket that’s bursting with fries or those can’t-eat-just-one chips.

Village Social, 251 Main Street, Mount Kisco; 914-241-6260

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Truffle Grilled Cheese

The Dish: There’s an upscale vibe at Rye House, a newish restaurant in Port Chester, and the truffle grilled cheese is a good match for the ambiance. It’s made with aged fontina, a trio of mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, oyster), arugula and imported shaved black truffles. All this is sandwiched between country white batard bread from the nearby Kneaded Bread bakery. It’s a fantastic and memorable sandwich, one that will not go quietly into the land of digestion. Each ingredient makes a statement on its own, from the sharpness of the cheese and arugula, to the sweetness of the mushrooms and, finally, the intense and distinct flavor of the truffles. It comes with a choice of fries or a salad. Go for the salad: arugula tossed lightly with sherry vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, and topped with yucca that is freshly shaved and fried daily on premises.

The Bottom Line: This is more than a mere sandwich; it’s a culinary experience. And one not to be missed. With all that goes into it, I’ll call it a bargain at $14.

Rye House, 126 North Main Street, Port Chester; 914-481-8771

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Classic Grilled Cheese. Well, Kind Of. 

The Dish: For a grilled cheese that is probably the most true to its name, yet oh so unique and, well, mature, pay a visit to Juniper, a cozy, café-like restaurant in Hastings-on-Hudson. Two different cheeses make up this gooey sandwich—taleggio and fontina—along with just a smattering of caramelized onions and plump shiitake mushrooms. This creamy concoction oozes out of thick-cut Pain de Mie, which the waiter told me is basic French sandwich bread. Simple maybe, but it tasted so fresh and stayed perfectly crispy to the end. The sandwich comes paired with a salad of mixed greens tossed in homemade red wine vinaigrette. Tiny chopped chives are sprinkled on top for a wee fresh-from-the-fields kick.

The Bottom Line: This is a die-hard cheese lover’s sandwich and the two varieties mingle deliciously together in a tango of chewy, melted goodness. A perfectly satisfying lunch at $12, and you’ll have a little room for a homemade dessert at dinnertime.

Juniper, 575 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson; 914-478-2542

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Bacon, Brie, Pear and Candied Onions Grilled Cheese

The Dish: If you’re someone who needs a staggering number of options to be satisfied, pay a visit to Melts, this eat-in or take-out fast foodie-type joint in Armonk. Here you’ll find a dozen grilled cheeses to choose from, starting with the classic we all know and love to inventive creations involving burgers, chicken, pastrami, wild mushrooms, jalapenos, even steak. The one called The Melts beckoned to me, and I made fast work of it. Sure, it practically melted in my mouth: brie, candied onions, maple-glazed bacon and pear chutney tucked into crunchy and hearty multi-grain bread. It hit the spot in a most scrumptious kind of way. Next time I’m trying the four cheese. Or, maybe the one with crispy chicken and blue cheese. Or pulled pork and cheddar…

The Bottom Line: A perfect lunch spot with something for everyone at any age. Sammies run anywhere from $5 to $9, and there’s a bunch of tummy-tempting soups and sides to transform a delightful lunch into a good, old-fashioned food fest.

Melts, 144 Bedford Road, Armonk; 914-219-5995

Our Beauty Night at Numi Salon

Prosecco, Blow-outs and Brow Sculpting? Yes, please.

January 29, 2016

“I feel like a new person,” one woman gushed, checking her reflection in the mirror. She just finished getting a free blow-out as part of our Beauty Night at Numi Salon in Scarsdale on Thursday evening. She was in good company. A few dozen other readers checked in for a complimentary brow sculpting, facial peel or blow-out.

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Moms everywhere from Pelham and Mt. Pleasant, Bronxville and Yonkers took the night off to indulge, chatted while waiting for their services. Everyone sipped something, whether it was white, red or a little bubbly. We stowed the wine in the shampoo sinks. Adorable!

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Who knew a 10-minute facial peel could brighten your skin so much? Everyone who got one left with a natural glow in their cheeks. I’ll be booking mine tomorrow! And Sabria’s Brows knows how to give your eyes lift and pop with her brow-shaping talents. Thank you, Sabria!

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A special thanks to Gabriel Abrams, the owner and founder of Numi, and his wife, Saris, who helped with the big crowd last night. Elizabeth and I swear by Gabriel’s cuts. He’s the only one I know who can tame my hair. Seriously! And look how cute they are! These rockstars have a newborn at home. (He offers $29 blow-outs on Wednesdays, too!)

We’re going to hold another free Beauty Event in coming months. Stay tuned! 

3 Day Time, Date Night Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Change it up and spend the day together.

January 27, 2016

Call me cranky, but there’s nothing I hate more than going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Most restaurants shepherd you through like cattle, serve subpar food and are generally not at their best with so many hungry couples pouring in to celebrate the holiday. I prefer to celebrate cupid’s day in the daylight hours. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, it may be more fun than ever to do so. So we put our heads together to come up with some couple fun during the day. Think how much easier it will be to get a sitter for the afternoon!

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Brunch at Alamo Cinema and Drafthouse
Did you know that our favorite Westchester movie house serves up breakfast if you see a movie during weekend brunch hours? And what could be more indulgent than catching a flick while dipping your creme brûlée french toast in maple syrup? Along with the Yonker’s eat-in movie house’s typical menu of burgers, pizzas, salads, and wraps, Alamo serves up frittatas, a fried egg BLT, even coffee cake. You might as well catch up on Oscar-nominated films while you can.

Sign Up to Cook. Together. 
Sur La Table is holding a few couples cooking classes Valentine’s Day weekend, and they sound pretty sweet. Learn how to make macarons at 11am on Saturday, Feb. 13, in the White Plains location, or enroll in Romance in Italy (think: beef tenderloin with chianti reduction) on Valentine’s Day at 2pm or 5pm. Check the Ridge Hill location for additional classes and times. What could be more fun than doing something entirely different together?

Shop the Avenue, Binge on Crepes
Park along the shops on Greenwich Avenue in downtown Greenwich, even if you’re just window shopping. They have all of the major clothing retailers, plus some fun stores to pop into, like design star Jonathan Adler’s fun home furnishings boutique, and Giggle, which is like a super-chic BuyBuyBaby. Plus, Saks, Restoration Hardware, Farrow & Ball, and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Meli Melo, a creperie and juice bar that is always loud, filled with laughter, and just fun to sit in and do some people watching. And eating, of course. It’s just hard to decide whether to order a savory crepe or a sweet one. How about both?

If you have a better idea, share it. We’d love to hear it.

Organic Chinese Food? It’s About Time!

Wuji in Rye and Scarsdale is serving up healthy, sustainable, MSG-free meals.

January 25, 2016

Organic vegetables. Grass-fed beef. Cage-free chicken and eggs. These may not be terms that you associate with Chinese food, but after dining at a new restaurant in Rye, you just might start. Throw in a Hong Kong-trained chef, sleek décor with Asian elements, and stylish takeout boxes, and you’ve got Wuji, which just launched a second branch in Rye last month after its Scarsdale opening this past summer.

Wuji Chinese Restaurant Rye

Wuji’s concept is to take familiar Chinese dishes and punch them up using high-quality ingredients and expert culinary prowess in the kitchen. We sampled quite a few dishes and it was hard to choose a favorite one – everything was tasty and fresh. My husband particularly enjoyed the tangerine beef with Shanghai bok choy, a delightfully citrusy dish with beef so tender that it was barely recognizable. For me, it was a toss-up between the heritage spare ribs glazed in honey and plum sauce, and the spicy fried rice, turned a pale green by finely diced scallions and topped with a fried egg, the yolk perfectly runny.

Wuji spare ribs

Other fun touches of the restaurant include the tea service (a steaming hot tea infused with pear and ginger is turned ice cold right at the table – and it’s delicious), the complimentary cotton candy at the end of the meal (green apple-flavored the night we were there), and the custom-designed takeout bikes out front, ready to deliver in style within the area.

Wuji spicy fried rice

Prices are not what you might be used to for Chinese food (think: $17 for a half plate or $25 for a whole plate of the tangerine beef), but with high quality comes high prices. Some may balk at this, but the way I look at it is, if you’re willing to pay more for organic produce at Whole Foods, why not bring that attitude to Chinese food?

So come prepared to pay a lot but also to eat well. And while the ambience at Wuji says “date night,” by all means bring the kids if you want to – they are welcome. Or stay at home and order the takeout. Either way, it’s a dinner that you can feel good about feeding your whole family.

Wuji, 26 Purchase Street, Rye, 914-481-4758; and 2 Chase Road, Scarsdale, 914-713-8811

Sponsored Post: buybuy BABY’s Must List for Baby This Winter

Plus a $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

January 22, 2016

Renovated last spring, the new buybuy BABY in Scarsdale is better than ever for all things baby and beyond. Upon entering the store, you’re greeted by one of their many consultants who can assist you with anything from setting up a registry to determining what travel system will work best for your family.

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I recently stopped in to check it out and chat with store manager Tiffany Mount to get their top picks for your baby this winter. (Full disclosure: I was blown away by the amazing products that have sprung up on the market recently, making winter with little ones that much more bearable.)

For the coziest baby on the block 

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LILLEbaby COMPLETE ALL SEASONS 6-in-1 Baby Carrier
The newest carrier on the market, this one from LILLEbaby offers convenient year-round functionality. Featuring lumbar support, breathable and insulated fabric construction and 6 ways to carry baby from infancy to the toddler years, this one looks and feels good for carrying your babe any time of year. $139.99

JJ Cole Carseat Cover
A must for any baby heading outdoors this winter, this car seat cover has an elasticized outer band that fits over infant carriers to keep your baby nice and warm. Made of weather-resistant nylon, the removable top provides temperature control, and the interior is a nice, soft fleece. $29.99

JJ Cole Bundleme Hat, Mitten & Booties Set
For the coziest baby on the block, this adorable hat, mitten and booties set is made from the same plush inner faux shearling and outer thermaplush™ fabric as the JJ Cole® original Bundleme. $19.99

HALO SleepSack Wearable Blanket 
Baby can’t kick off this warm and cuddly blanket, ensuring a safe and sound sleep. (It also deters climbing out of the crib and keeps legs from going through crib rails.) $21.99

TL Care Cotton Flannel Crib Sheet
Your little one will be soft and happy with this cotton flannel crib sheet, perfect for keeping your baby comfy and cozy on colder nights. $17.99

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Gro-Egg Room Thermometer
This innovative thermometer changes color to let you know at once whether the temperature of a room is too low, too high or just right, helping you maintain a safe sleeping environment for your baby. $36.99

When the inevitable sniffles strikebreathe easy rub buybuybabyHonest Organic Breathe Right Easy Rub
Organic aromatherapy oils help to soothe and calm with lavender and rosemary. Great for infants or anyone with sensitive skin. (Think: Vicks, only all-natural and safe for baby!) $9.99

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Kissable Cheeks Balm
Say no to chapped cheeks and lips! This balm moisturizes dry skin around the lips and face. Enriched with cocoa butter and Vitamin E, it’s naturally gentle and the perfect emollient for delicate skin. (I used it on all my kids tonight and got three thumbs up!) $5.99

BabyGanics Say Aahhh! Soothing Vapor Bubble Bath
Natural fragrances of menthol, eucalyptus, rosemary and cedarwood ease baby’s congestion and soothe achiness and general crank, while the NeoNourish Complex™ nurtures and supports the skin. $7.49 for 12 oz.

boogie wipes buybuybabyBoogie Wipes Unscented Wipes
For effective clean-up and relief of stuck-on boogies caused by the common cold and allergies. Won’t irritate their little noses! $3.79 for 30-count

PureGuardian 100-Hour Ultrasonic Humidifier
This efficient humidifier uses virtually silent ultrasonic technology to quickly disperse a warm or cool mist for creating a desired humidity level in any room. Unit features a Silver Clean™ treated water tank to help prevent mold and mildew buildup. $99.99

Vetted by many mommies, this allows you to keep baby’s nostrils clear using your own suction to draw mucus out of your little one’s nose. $15.99 for the aspirator; $3.99 for replacement filters

Because winter is here and snow is fun! 
Your toddler will love going for a fun ride in the snow in this sleigh that offers support for his or her back. $19.99

Giveaway! Leave a comment on this post to win a $50 buybuy BABY gift card. CONTEST RULES: We will draw a winner at random. If we don’t hear back from you, we’ll send you a second email. Then 48 hours after you were first notified, we’ll go to the next person. One entry per person, please. Contest will end midnight EST on January 29, 2016. A winner will be selected and notified within 2 days. Void where prohibited. Federal, state and local taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner. By entering our contests, you’re opting to receive updates and news from Wee Westchester.

buybuy BABY accepts all unexpired Bed Bath & Beyond coupons as well as competitors’ unexpired coupons on identical items sold by the competitor! Stop in today! 

buybuy BABY, 1019 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale; 914-725-9220

Art + Natural History At Bruce Museum

This Greenwich spot has lots for kids (and grown-ups) to love.

January 21, 2016

By fifi + hop, Travel and Adventure With Kids

When you live in Westchester, sometimes making it into the city for a museum visit is not in the cards — perhaps not a big enough time window, not in the mood for crowds. Whatever the reason, it’s just not happening. Which is why I like to explore museum alternatives outside of the city. I’ve written about the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in Connecticut (see post here), which is a great, smaller alternative to the Museum of Natural History in New York. Another fabulous Connecticut museum completely worth checking out is the Bruce Museum in Greenwich.

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Highly regarded for its collections in art, natural history and science, there is a bit of everything for the curious mind. It’s a small museum, but a good one. With both permanent and temporary exhibitions, there is always something to interest adults and kids alike. It has a terrific natural history section, which is always a huge draw for the kids. Comprised of fossils, mammal and bird mounts, minerals and rocks, and reptiles and skeletons, my girls are engaged from the minute we walk in. They especially love the water tank with crabs, lobster and fish, as well as the diorama of the animals in the woods, a big, intriguing display.

What I really love about the museum is that it also has an art collection, in addition to its science collection, with art mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. We loved the Hans Hoffman exhibition, which was recently up this past fall. In general there is a good mix of art, science and natural history – a nice, well-rounded collection.

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The Bruce Museum has a bunch of Youth and Family programs, such as the Tuesday Toddler Tours (Tuesdays, 11:00-11:45am and 1:00-1:45pm), Stroller Tours (one Wednesday a month, 9:00-10:00am), Sunday Family Gallery Tours (most Sundays, ages 6 to 10, 11:30am-12:30pm), Family Studio Workshops (two Sundays a month, 1:00-3:00pm, $7 for members, $15 for non-members) and School Vacation Workshops (10:00am-12:00pm, grades K-5, $7 for members and $20 for non-members, advanced registration required). For more info, see the museum’s website here.

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One final note – across the street is the Bruce Park playground, a huge, awesome playground your kids will be sure to squeal over, and a good way to combine both indoor and outdoor play.

Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT; 203-869-0376. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00am-5:00pm; closed Mondays and most major holidays (except for MLK, Presidents’ and Columbus Days).

Where to Go Skiing Near Westchester

Start your kids off at a small, family-friendly mountain in the area.

January 18, 2016

With temps finally cooling down this winter, it’s time to plan that ski day trip! Think your kids are too young? Actually, most ski schools will tell you that the younger the better when learning how to ski. Here are a few smaller, family-friendly mountains in the area that give lessons to kids as young as 3 or 4. Just remember that if you’re planning on signing up for any lessons, they almost always have to be booked in advance.

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Mount Peter, Warwick, NY

Mount Peter’s got a couple of things going for it: At about an hour from Westchester, it’s relatively close to home, and it offers free beginner lessons with the purchase of lift tickets! In addition, the ski school is willing to give lessons to kids at any age, so long as they’re potty-trained (check out the Pete’s Pals program). Parents can also book private lessons, or put kids ages 5 and up in group sessions.

51 Old Mount Peter Road, Warwick, NY; 845-986-4940

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Mount Southington, Plantsville, CT

One of the best things about Mount Southington is that there’s the Glacier, a designated children’s section of the mountain, so you don’t have to worry about adult learners barreling into your kids. Here, kids 4 and up can participate in group sessions or private ski lessons; 6 and up for snowboarders. There’s also a special parent & preschooler lesson offered to moms and dads who want to learn how to use connectors and harnesses so they can teach their own kids.

396 Mount Vernon Road, Plantsville, CT; 860-628-0954

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Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, MA

At just over 2 hours away in Massachusetts, Butternut is a bit more of a trek, but many local families swear by this mountain and say it’s worth the trip. It’s larger than most family-friendly mountains and serious about its snowmaking, but not quite as overwhelming as Hunter Mountain or Mountain Creek may be. Parents can book private lessons for their kids or reserve a spot in their popular half-day or full-day skiing and snowboarding programs.

380 State Road, Great Barrington, MA; 413-528-2000

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Shawnee Mountain, Stroudsburg, PA

I have fond memories of this mountain, located less than two hours away, in the Poconos, as it was one of the places where I learned to ski. Parents will love that there’s a huge variety of kids’ lessons, from Mommy & Me to 3-hour-long SkiWee group sessions to WeeRiders snowboarding lessons for kids ages 4 to 6. Check out all their offerings for kids here.

401 Hollow Road, East Stroudsburg, PA; 570-421-7231

Also take a look at our past post on other popular mountains in the area, including Catamount, Thunder Ridge, Jiminy Peak, Windham and Mohawk.

Want a Free Blowout? Save the Date: January 28

Join us for a night of beauty & cocktails at Numi Salon in Scarsdale

January 15, 2016

Feeling the beauty blahs this month? We’ve got just the solution.

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We’re thrilled to host our first-ever Beauty Bash on Thursday, January 28, from 6:30-8:30pm at Numi Salon in Scarsdale! We’re partnering with our favorite local beauty pros to throw a casual and fun girls night of pampering. Come enjoy these amazing FREE services:

  • Complimentary blowout by the incredible pros at Numi Salon. (Just named Best of Westchester Winner for Best Hair Salon South 2015.)
  • Free brow shaping with “The Eyebrow Guru”, Sabria Celaj
  • Free skin assessment and mini-peel from Licensed Aesthetician, Gladys Bergamin

Of course, we’ll have champagne, wine and snacks because it wouldn’t be a party without it! Everyone will go home with some beauty goodies and a coupon for 50% off your next service at Numi. PLUS, we will have giveaways for full services throughout the evening. Stay for the whole time or drop by for a quick treatment & cocktail!

Space is limited so please R.S.V.P. to info@weewestchester today. We can’t wait to see you!

Numi Salon is located at 69 Harney Road in Scarsdale. We recommend coming with your hair clean so you can pop right in the chair! 

 

Birthday Party Guide: Creative Birthday Bashes

January 13, 2016

By Michelle Gillan Larkin We’ve all been to those fun-filled birthday parties at the indoor jungle gyms and bouncy houses, and the kids always have a great, albeit sweaty, time. But if your child has a creative streak — one you hope to encourage or even unearth — or, if you’re just in the market […]

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Date Night: Are You Smart Enough to Escape the Room?

January 11, 2016

You’re overdue for a date night and decide to plan an evening out with some other couples. Do you (a) make reservations for dinner; (b) get tickets for the latest movie; or (c) let yourself be locked in a room where you and your friends must work together to decipher a series of clues in order […]

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Westchester’s Best Playgrounds: A Shiny New Paradise of Play

January 8, 2016

By Michelle Gillan Larkin We all get park fatigue. And sometimes your kids (and you!) need a new spot to play. Well, here’s a fun playground for the next mild winter day: A brand new play place at Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El. Open to the public and situated along the Bronx River Parkway in Scarsdale, this expansive, new playground was […]

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New Westchester Restaurants Roundup

January 6, 2016

We’ve been eating our way through Westchester lately, and there are so many good bites to dish about. Here are some of our new faves. Saltaire, a new high-end seafood house in an old grain warehouse in Port Chester, isn’t just for oyster lovers, although there’s a variety of the locally-sourced shellfish on the menu […]

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